This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Creative Meditation on the Cross
FOR PERSONAL AND GROUP USE
. www.com Published by Tributary Music www.ruthfazal.com (416) 421 3806 Fax (416 ) 421 5998 Copyright 2004 Duplication is prohibited by law. The Seven Last Words of Christ Published by Tributary Music www.ruthfazal.castingseeds.This booklet is intended to be used with the recording of Poetry: Gary Wiens Music: Ruth Fazal.com (416) 421 3806 Fax (416 ) 421 5998 Copyright 2004 Duplication is prohibited by law. Also available “FOUNTAIN OF TEARS by Ruth Fazal Sculpture :"Fountain of Tears" by Rick Wienecke.
The Poems: The nine poems that comprise The Seven Last Words of Christ cycle were written during a season of spiritual encounters. Questions are provided along the way that may be used in the context of group discus‐ sions.ruthfazal.com RUTH FAZAL Seven Last Words or Christ and Fountain of Tears are just two of the many recordings by Ruth Fazal. the author experienced a series of “visions of the mind” through which the meaning and impact of the passion of Christ was revealed to him in new and deeper ways. This disclosure comes to the hearts of those who desire to under‐ stand the reality of this pivotal event in human history. May the Holy Spirit guide you step by step. For more information visit Ruth’s website at www. you are invited to engage in a journey into the heart of God. for the revelation of His sacrificial love is precious.A view of ‘Fountain of Tears’ by Rick Wienecke. It is our prayer that along the way. beyond the basic statements of faith that we repeat in rote fashion during this season of the year there is a reservoir of beauty. in the contemplation of the death and resurrec‐ tion of Jesus Christ. Written from the perspective of John the Beloved Apostle standing at the foot of the cross. A way is provided to begin the process of comprehending the love of God. Beyond the mere facts of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is given to all who seek Him with a whole heart. and may the experiential knowledge of the passion of Jesus Christ captivate your heart. you will be captured by the heart of Jesus. By means of this little devotional guide. to begin to gaze upon the highest earthly revelation of His Glory – the cross of Jesus Christ. It is a place of encounter with the heart of God that is worth the journey. a well‐spring of ecstatic love that awaits the seeker who will linger here with an open and expectant heart. whose desire is accompanied by a measure of determination. touching you with the power of His extravagant love. . Rick created this fountain in response to hearing ‘The Seven Last Words of Christ’ More about Fountain of Tears– visit www. undone by the revelation of what He endured to win your affections. the poems are deeply personal.castingseeds. a profound revelation of the love of God. Israel.com Introduction: There is. In the winter of 2000‐2001. revelations of the crucifixion and the events surrounding it. The fountain stands in the city of Arad.
For group discussion: Talk about the level of expectation that you have to see Jesus face to face. that death could never hold the Life. Of course we knew. You were not there. Thank You. or a single word. paying attention to your thoughts and feelings as you consider what is before you. • Let your heart touch the emotion of John as he is restored to relationship with the living Jesus. as once again I took my place. May the Lord bless you as you enter into this journey of intimacy at the foot of the cross. Prayer: Lord Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to make this reality live in your heart as well. Track 9) • Place yourself in the position of the disciples. or on a word or phrase in one of the poems simply means to “chew” on the concept. and come to know the settled reality of full redemption because of what You did for me. and there You stood. I’d turned to go. engage your emotions in this process. The scenes are vivid. • Consider other passages of Scripture that come to mind that communicate similar truths. and allow your heart to become involved. I want to live in the joy of intimacy with You. fill my heart with understanding of the power of Your res‐ urrection. • Let the Holy Spirit remind you of situations in your own life in which you felt similar emotions. and called my name. • Again. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. Pray for one another that the embrace of the risen Christ will fill your hearts with His joy over you. Some Hints for Meditation Musing or meditating on a passage of Scripture. and reflect on the astonishing emotional journey they endured for those three days. a magnificent work of art created by Rick Wienecke in response to The Seven Last Words of Christ poems. and sixty feet wide. alive again. the one You love. The Fountain of Tears stands twelve feet high. inside Your heart. and drew me near. . filled with Father’s grace and truth. the mood intense and unrelenting. Amen. and consider several ways of saying the same thing. alive with fire I’ve never seen. now in the morning’s light. And yet. I know. • Take a phrase. • Use “ Fountain of Tears” as the backdrop for further meditation of each poem. Here are some ways to do that: • Imagine that you are one of the characters in the scene. The Word made flesh. and took my hand. are fixed on me again. Israel. observing the crucifixion with your own eyes. the person of Jesus communi‐ cates tender compassion and mercy to those who dare to draw near. with Peter hounding hard upon my heels. The Pictures: The photographs included in this guide are of sculptures that make up The Fountain of Tears. • Engage your mind and emotions in each encounter. Go beyond mere mental exercise. Your eyes. in the midst of unimaginable agony. Your beating heart against my cheek released the tears. and now I know. and currently stands in the city of Arad.inviting the contemplative reader to share in the encounter. And so the morning came. and once again I find myself before Your feet. that darkness could not comprehend the Light that shined.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 52:13‐53:12 Meditation: • Take the time to muse upon the various phrases that catch your attention. • Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into new comprehension of the love of Jesus for you that drove Him to the cross. the cup poured out and remnant bread still sat upon the board. and now I know. For group discussion: reflect aloud on times when you experi‐ enced the dynamic of the Holy Spirit revealing the person of Jesus to your heart.” It seemed that God had be‐ come the enemy of Jesus. madly racing toward my only hope. We wrapped Your form in swaddling cloths. Such raw and ragged terror was our lot through yesterday. uncomprehending. aggrieved. Amen. We wept. and let Your mother hold You there. and once again I find myself before Your feet. 1.• Reflect on what it might mean to have a heart that “burns within you” because of the instruction of the Holy Spirit con‐ cerning Jesus. and held each other near. hardly knowing what to say – no words to say. We weren’t prepared for what we saw. and told the stories of Your love that changed our lives. . She said You spoke her name. and all was right. For group discussion: talk about the statement “we considered Him smitten of God and afflicted. • Give thanks to the Lord Jesus for His gift of love. freeing your imagination to “see” the events as they occur. when in fact He was standing in our place. alive with fire I’ve never seen. and as I washed Your ravaged face. the endless nights. Your eyes saw me. and iniquities as He suffered. please send Your Holy Spirit to open the eyes of my heart. Ask the Lord to give you that kind of vibrant response to His life in you. and watery blood came pouring out. Scripture Reading: John 18:1‐19:37 Meditation: • Allow your mind to linger at points in the passage. Our shattered hearts. and when You did. are fixed on me again. And Mary left to bring the fragrant oils to Your side. and came exploding back with news that wounded hearts could scarcely take. Reflect on what that means to you. that I might comprehend Your love in the sufferings of Jesus. and grief afresh assailed our souls. • Let the Holy Spirit touch your heart with the truth that Jesus bore your sorrows. broke again as one by one we filtered through the door of Upper Room. Talk about the emotions and thoughts that you might have had as you watch these events unfold. knowing that as You died. Your eyes. I took off running. Prologue: Before Your Feet Prayer: Heavenly Father. We’d watched as soldiers came and pierced Your side. Poetry Session: “The Morning” The morning came. sickness. as Joseph came and took Your corpse. And then the morning came. the fire of passioned love erupted fresh from aching core. We prayed together through the nights. the only thing my eyes could see was that last gaze. For group discussion: Imagine yourselves as observers of the procession to the place where Jesus was crucified. for one last time.
And now I dare to trust again. I feel the rush of power inside to know the Truth. Epilogue: The Morning Prayer: Thank You. Enable my heart to receive all that You have for me in this moment. With face like flint you strode the path of crushing love. I find my rest. avows Your love. Bruised beyond all recognition. ceaseless wonder! Unending cause of joy and gladness that yet subdues me. I breathe Your Name as tears in silent eloquence declare my thanks. You wore the thorny crown. And dripped the blood that washes me – it washes me. to stand as free. Amen. Send Your Spirit to my heart. wondrous myst’ry! The ecstasy of being fully known and fully loved. brings the life for which I’ve longed and prayed. and speak my name. I take Your hand. and that He could trust You even in death. that I might be settled in the knowledge of Your love and grace. releasing all the fear and pain. Who are my joy. and help me to abandon my whole life into Your hands. Your shattered visage announces healing for this broken image. for You have stretched it out for me upon the cross. the shelt’ring Rock in which no accusation finds its mark. my very Life. matchless grace! Empowering flow of mingling tears and blood that covers – nay. and cleansing deeply. Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13‐35 Meditation: • Consider what it must have been like to hear the Lord Himself instruct these men from all the Scriptures concerning Himself. O. For group discussion: Talk about the emotions that Mary must have felt when the risen Jesus spoke her name and restored her to joy. Before Your gaze. can never end. I find my love. Your eyes bore deep within my secret heart. I want to trust You like that. . Amen. Thunders Your passion. it carries all my sin and stain away. the life to which You drew me from the start. having seen the love of Jesus poured out. And as Your voice declares my true design. and take the risky steps of dancing on the mountaintops with You. O. Your cloven side my hiding place. Poetry Session: Before Your Feet” Before Your feet. How could I keep from foll’wing You. I come to peace through Your own work that bought my life. For group discussion: Talk about the suggestion that some of your most important work is accomplished in times when you feel the weakest. O Splendid Lord. You gave yourself in sober joy. • Reflect on the tenderness of Jesus to meet Mary so personally. once begun. Before Your feet. for the power of resurrection and restoration. O Worthy One. now surges through my heart and mind. The ceaseless flood that. God. O Lamb of God. I take my place. O. Prayer: Father. Your precious love has won the day and drawn me near. stunning my heart in contemplation of Your mercy. 9. Scripture Reading: John 20:1‐18 Meditation: • Give thanks to the Lord and exult in His victory over death and the grave! • Let your emotions enter into the joy and amazement of the disciples as they began to encounter the risen Christ. and restore her heart.
giving attention to each phrase as you meditate on His love for you. Silence. Amen. what now is this? How is this so? What has happened now to hopeful sense. as sudden. • Meditate on the truth that in His weakest moment. staring down. Thank You. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. What now? Nothing. no power within to cover her. more slowly this time. horrid grief engulfs her soul. My God. I long to know You more deeply. has fixed on me. Father. Track 1) • Listen to the poem in its entirety. my eyes affixed to lifeless face that.You cannot die! Not now! You said ‘twas done! My God. The Word is dead. Lord. For group discussion: How does the sacrifice of Jesus impact your heart with regard to your identity and place of significance to God? How does this affect the way you relate to yourself and to others? Prayer: Lord Jesus. to silenced heart that felt Your own repose? How can this be? Your mother screams. to hold her heart in guarded place. and able to bring new life even out of the most shattering cir‐ cumstances. Track 8) • As you listen. I fall with her to bloody ground. . 2. • Then. • Reflect on the power of God that is greater than death. I lay myself before Your feet this day. consider the total confusion that the followers of Jesus must have felt – hearing Him speak hopeful words. I catch her as her limbs collapse. and yet dying before their eyes. consider the text again. and my protecting arm becomes a useless thing. and to worship You with thanksgiving for what You endured for my sake. allowing its full beauty to impact your heart and soul. Forgive Them Prayer: Holy Spirit. please enable my heart to more fully experience the reality that my sins are forgiven through the atoning work of Jesus’ death. and ask that You would send Your Holy Spirit to reveal Your love to my heart. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. Jesus completed His most important and effective work. His life at an end.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 50:15‐21 Meditation: • Consider this prophetic picture of God’s forgiveness in the story of Joseph and his brothers. untenable gladness erupting from places in the heart that moments ago knew only sorrow’s groan. • Consider the anguish of the faithful women who watched the procession in horror and disbelief. Did they not know? Scripture Reading: Psalm 31:1‐5 Meditation: • Once again. and that you could fully trust Him in the place of your powerlessness? Poetry Session: “Into Your Hands” I cannot still my trembling flesh. and something certain. and momentary reverie is shattered once again as words not bargained for escape Your lips: Father. but God meant it for good. O Jesus. • Reflect on what it means for you to fully entrust yourself to the Father’s care in faith that He will do all that is needed to bring you fullness of joy. are lifted now. For group discussion: What would it mean for your life if you felt full confidence that God had your best interests at heart. and once again I stand in solid place. into Your hands I commend my Spirit. Whose passioned song is light and life to all who walk upon this plane. my feet upon the Rock. no longer dark. And then You speak. Friend. and ruined You Whose lovely visage is the crowning joy of all that is. .Scripture Reading: Luke 23:1‐35 Meditation: • Take the time to allow the intensity and agony of the unfolding events to impact you. something true asserts its Presence. This cannot be! My head is spinning.” Talk together about times in your life that need to be reinterpreted according to God’s plans and desires. I watch You die. Poetry Session: “Father. Wait! My heart explodes. and now I see the calm repose upon Your face that pushes through the battered visage of murdered flesh and speaks of settled trust and adamant hope. whispers a startling joy. For group discussion: Joseph’s testimony concerning his brothers’ actions was “you meant this for evil. for shatt’ring cry of finished work now grips my soul. Talk about what it means to you that Jesus received all of that on your behalf. consider how beautifully and completely Jesus fulfilled the prophetic imagery of the Old Testament. some One within. What is this certain thing that asserts its will even as all external signs and rational thought demand despair? Something within. • Meditate on the reality that as God allowed Joseph to suffer that he might bring salvation to his brothers. Forgive Them” What have they done? They’ve taken You. • Feel the scorn of those who mocked and tortured the Son of God. You breathe Your last. and terror’d heart begins its quieting. For group discussion: Reflect on times when you have been the object of scorn or mockery. so Jesus was allowed to suffer so that forgiveness could be granted to us. Your eyes. And having said this. You move again.
Amen. what profane conceit! Did we not see? Did we not know? What have we done? What have I done? This darksome day. having fully met all the requirements of obedience and holi‐ ness on behalf of the human race. and drove the nails. O Jesus. Because of Your great love demonstrated in Jesus’ death. to drink the whole cup of salvation for me. For group discussion: Talk about the things that seem hopeless to you. and echo Judas’ cloying cry – “Am I the one?” I am not innocent. • Consider the confidence in the Father’s love that Jesus dem‐ onstrates. access to the Father has been accomplished. “Which one’s the greatest?” was our cry. I am the one who put You there. and in our swaggering ignorance we claimed we could. but trusted the Father even in death. Son of God! I weep in anguish as I see what foolish eyes can ne’er behold – the King of Glory dies for me. Friend.• Consider the places in your life where you need an infusion of hope. Help me to follow You with all my heart. and to finish the course You have laid out for me. Did they not see? Did they not know? What have they done? What have we done? We did not see. Thank You for loving me enough to go the whole way. declaring truths that freed th’ enslavened soul to walk in joy. You asked if we could drink Your cup. the sorrow in Your blazing eyes as words of strife and selfish pride poured from our lips just yesterday. thank You for not shrinking back. O Jesus. Into Your Hands Prayer: Father. In that mo‐ ment. daily lifting broken people to the Father’s heart. and mocked the Name. the Man Christ Jesus entered the very Presence of God. Scripture Reading: Luke 23:44‐49 Meditation: • Reflect on the tearing of the veil of the Temple. and ask the Holy Spirit to make the finished work of Christ on the cross real to you in your circumstance. Even though He had been abandoned. Rejoice in the fact that through Jesus. as foll’wing You toward Olive’s Mount we argued for position even as You strode in silence toward the place of exaltation none of us would dare desire. 8. but stand as one with those who rent the flesh. the Lover of my soul. O. and tore the beard. trusting that His love would deliver you. Prayer: Jesus. open my eyes today to see the truth that I can fully trust You with all my life. Friend. He did not waver in confidence. or see the winsome way you touched the weak? You moved among them. Did they not see that You were He of Whom the prophets spoke? Did they not hear the words of life. I believe that You will keep Your promises to me. and consider together what “it is finished” means in your situation. Did I not see? Did I not know? What have I done? With anguished groan You lift Your sacred head And fix Your gaze on me. before Your feet The tears of ardent love roll down Your face . My God! What hubris. For group discussion: talk about some times when the only op‐ tion you had was to commit yourself into the Father’s hands. I stand before Your cross in guilty shame and own the stain of human sin. Amen. matchless Friend! O.
there is an in‐ breaking of hope because of what Jesus accomplished. Something more. but only stand before Your feet to wait in tortured grief for Your demise. begins to glance at me again tho’ shadowed still by rugged tree. have mercy on me. considering the progressive awareness of personal guilt and shame that confronts the participant. and You stood in my place that day. but nothing shines. For group discussion: Reflect on the thought that Jesus’ sufferings were caused by our particular sins. to lock with Yours As mighty words pour forth to me alone. ‘tis not Your life that’s over now. the crazed confusion as wave upon relentless wave of panic strikes my heart at evidence of Your dismay. eclipsed in horrid night. and receive His forgiveness afresh. as sin’s dead weight begins to steal Your breath. I am the guilty one. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. Track 2) • Listen to the poem in its entirety. as with uncanny strength. Your countenance now ruined. and darkness grim begins to yield before Your dying and forsaken form. that I may stand free and clean before You with a thankful heart. There’s something more. despite the things our eyes will see. . Amen. And yet despite my fear. allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal your attitudes and actions that con‐ tributed to Jesus’ death. Prayer: O Jesus. “It is finished!” Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. and in that moment comes a cry that shatters gates on hell itself. A dawning. Talk about the impact this realization has on your own heart. You draw a breath that seems to capture Death itself.Father. They know not what they do. but by my sin and guilt. a sinner. And now. Track 7) • Reflect on the fact that in the darkest hour. What do You see? Is some new understanding flowing back into Your mind as darksome fear begins to flee Your stricken face? Does comprehension of a plan once stolen from Your heart because of pain now loose Your joy again? What do I see here? Is blackness bowing even as Your life flows out? What is this thing that I behold? The sun. regardless of the things our eyes will see. I watch Your eyes grow wide. a dawning day that now will come. There’s something more. as well as by the sins of those who were physically killing Him. I cannot turn. Your form now shattered. allow the washing and cleansing power of Christ’s mercy to flood over you. And then. forgive them. something stronger than the devil’s plan asserts its will through tortured voice of God’s own Son: My soul is shaken at the sound. Let me know the power of for‐ giveness. • Read the poem again. and then to all who dare to hear: I search Your face. giving time to each section. but something reaching down to me from deep inside Your riven breast Commands my eyes to gaze on You. I scarce can look. • Reflect on the fact that the death of Jesus was not only brought about by others who did not understand. and something older. for in the midst of crushing loss I feel absurd and foolish things. that whatever it was that You call done. I cannot bear the terror here. Your face contorting with anguish new as some late loathing strikes Your heart. as you meditate on His incredible statement of for‐ giveness. • Finally. as though with horror fresh.
My Mother now – my God. Whose Name was called the world’s own Light? 3. Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:1‐25 Meditation: • Consider again the wondrous truth that Jesus fully finished all that was necessary for our salvation. that Jesus would have a burning desire for weak human be‐ ings! • Consider Jesus’ prayer request that the Father would em‐ power us to love Him even as the Father loves Him. chose to re‐ main in the place of suffering for the sake of love. O precious Lamb. He did it all! Give Him thanks for His wonderful sacrifice of love. Silent. before Your feet. calling on the One Who hears. but now that life drips at my feet. may be with me where I am. For group discussion: Reflect on the reality that Jesus’ heart is filled with desire that you be present with Him. Beneath my arm. what is this love inside my breast? – I cannot bear her silent grief. and the reality of restoration. Who could have summoned legions of angels to rescue Him (Matthew 26:53). that I might have grace to understand the riches of Your mercy and grace. patent hatred and stark confusion comprise the order of the day. but gazing instead on other realms. Poetry Session: “It Is Finished” I stand in anguished stupor now as here. . You stir again and lift Your head to stare upon the world with vacant eyes. her heart disquieted in anguished oppression. descended despite the cloudless day. waging the violent war of chosen trust In the Father of the Living Word struck silent here. Send Your Spirit to my heart today. the King of kings. Paradise Prayer: God of mercy. having had the way opened for us to fully know the Father and live in His presence. unknown to any mind. no longer seeing. this wasted hill. I desire that they also . • Reflect on the glorious liberty that comes to us. What do You see.” What a wondrous thing this is. You said that in Your life was Light of men. endured such mockery without retaliation. save Yours alone. For group discussion: What would it mean for you to bear in patient silence the diffi‐ culties that are placed on you by others? Scripture Reading: John 17:24‐26 Meditation: • Reflect on Jesus’ statement – “Father. it seems. O lovely Lord. Describe your feelings of being desired by Him so much that He endured the cross to have you. Why is her soul cast down.” or with full and confident self‐disclosure into the presence of God because of what Jesus did. and darkness reigns. increases now. For group discussion: Talk together about what it means to “come boldly. and yet Who seems on this dread day not to care to listen? She softly sobs. Amen. and now You die. . Scripture Reading: Luke 23:36‐43 Meditation: • Consider the wondrous reality that the God‐Man. • Meditate on the fact that Jesus. . my heart is filled with coercive fear. and dismal darkness. thank You for the power of forgiveness. the shiv’ring form still stands.
Give thanks that He did not shrink back. flung in blatant disregard of the One Whose merest word had set so many free. as though some giant hand has stretched from heaven and shaken the soul. Whose hand was never raised except to bless? I want to stop them. Talk about how those images impact your heart. . or need in your life. as a single voice seems to stand above the crowd. and reflect on the fact that because Jesus finished the work. • Allow the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any area of bro‐ kenness. was spent and thirsty on that tree. but completely finished the work the Father sent Him to do. one last defiant gesture from a life a-wasted. the very core of what is good and true. My focus shifts once more to Jesus’ eyes. Poetry session: “Paradise” See how He hangs there. transfixed in horror. able only to stand and watch as demon’d hordes swarm and swirl. My heart explodes. 7. not faith. Scripture Reading: John 19:30 Meditation: • Consider the range of human need that was met in the death of Jesus on the cross. and take us with you!” But bitterness and scorn comprise th’ aroma of this cry. “Aren’t you the Christ? Then show yourself! Do something big! Come down from there. It seems a venting. Impossible pain screaming from His shredded flesh as splintered spar abrades the ruined body that bore my head upon its breast mere hours ago. I give You my whole self in thanksgiving. sickness. just for a moment. hellish eyes glaring at that lovely face. Prepare my heart to comprehend more fully what You accomplished that day. It Is Finished Prayer: Lord Jesus. I watch aghast as He allows the hateful words to pierce His heart. His gaze affixed on robber’s face. I give You thanks that You finished the work of redemption on my behalf. and angry. My gaze is drawn away. anguished accusations spew from one who hangs on neighb’ring tree. Amen. and makes no move to fend them off. You astonish me with Your mercy. but I am paralyzed and impotent. For group discussion: Talk about what the phrase It is finished” means to you in your relationship with God. Prayer: Father in heaven. nothing will separate you from the love of God. now spoiled and ploughed by Satan’s rage. Why do they shout? Why do they mock with vicious words from hate-filled hearts? What makes them strike Him. the Fountainhead. my mind is rattled. that I might live in greater love and gratitude. Amen. the face of God made flesh. I give thanks with all my heart that Jesus. that I could drink and live. His mournful tears flow unrestrained For group discussion: Reflect on the various images in Scripture of the healing river.
remember me. as though a grace has touched his lips: “Do you not fear the One to Whom you speak? We are the dead. I fall in worship as the seemingly conquered. as He extends embracing arm.” he pleads. You spoke of Rock that Moses struck. today you will be with me in Paradise. before Your feet. ev’n as I see the wondrous gift of Mercy’s flow. but something. with groaning words and heaving sighs. My tears flow freely once again as I behold and bless the One from Whom all blessings flow. agreeing with the Father’s voice. He clung to nothing. I feel the aching. tender surge of grateful heart as I behold Your life poured out for me. The clangorous sound of angry cry awakens him who hangs on opposite side. the Fountainhead. • Reflect on the poem’s assertion that the flow of Christ’s blood was the fulfillment of all the “river of life” imagery of the Scriptures. And now. gave His very self. He alone deserves to live.” The eyes of Jesus shift toward him. His longing heart. O God. The Stream that gladdened City’s heart. would flow from deep within the one who dared to drink from You. My God! He’s smiling. about to burst with cleansing stream. I say to you. He breathes response that sets the captives free: Assuredly. Allow yourself to feel the horror that must have been felt by all who saw it. conquering King smiles now through horrid pain. whose last-ditch plea has flung the Door of Heaven wide. the no-hope Bride who at the last did find her Way. the fresh’ning Flow that greens the leaf in midst of drought – all these were pictures of Your life poured out that men might live. and fiery stream that Daniel saw come coursing down from Ancient Throne. the River Ezekiel could not cross. And I behold with staggered heart a throng. ask the Holy Spirit to enable your whole being to connect with the agony of the cross. Rejoices now that this one heart has heard His call. The Living Water. You proclaimed. The washing font at Temple’s door – O precious Friend – the Wine with which You filled the cup. the Jordan that cleansed the leper’s stain. Someone calls my heart awake to see the Truth that now pours out from riven side of my Beloved. “that in Your Kingdom my name may be declared. “O Lord. . worshipping. And in that glance my eyes are graced to see beyond the present day. He speaks with eerie calm. We stole and ran. and glance at me along the way. With sorrow’d joy a-flowing down. a host of people now aligned behind this thief. tho’ the tortured grimace would not be understood by one who knew Him less than I. • Give thanks that the blood of Jesus is sufficient for your redemption and healing. Track 6) • As you listen. I feel dismay as puzzling joy begins to well inside my breast. How can this be? I am confused. grasping to ourselves the stuff we hoped would give us life. poured out in joyful sacrifice to all who asked. one held in place – it surely seems – by something more than just a Roman nail. The stirring pool of Bethesda’s porch.as tender words from better days are drawn across my mind. now spent and thirsty on that tree that I might drink and live. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. The movement of his head attracts my gaze as through his pain he forms his thoughts. and called them all to enter in. My Lord! It’s You! I fall in wonder.
I cannot see. allowing your imagination to perceive the chaos and horror surrounding the crucifixion scene. Amen. on me. to comprehend the depth of wretched anguish You endured. Lord Jesus Christ. as He extends embracing arm. For group discussion: How does the fact that Jesus opens His heart to undeserving people who call upon Him at the last minute affect your emo‐ tions? Share stories of people you know that came to Him in the final moments of their lives. I drop my gaze as tears fall fresh upon the ground already wet with sorrow’s pain. In the midst of agony.” • Reflect on the reality that this robber was one whom Jesus desired to be with Him. to know and comprehend His great love. • Reflect on how the pathway laid out for Jesus from all eternity was fully embraced by Him. “I thirst” . • Consider Jesus’ heart toward the thief as revealed in the line “. Prayer: Holy Spirit. . And as You wet Your lips on hyssop’s branch. O Lord. leaving nothing unfulfilled in the process of our re‐ demption. Have mercy. one held in place – it surely seems – by something more than just a Roman nail. grating sound that comes from You is barely heard. For group discussion: How does the precise fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies affect your confidence that God’s plan is specifi‐ cally effective for you? Poetry Session: “I Thirst” How long. and yet held His heart open in mercy to all those around Him. the miry pit to which the hand of God abandoned You. • Consider the stunning reality that Jesus endured all this pain and terror. from where I stand. Track 3) • Listen to the poem. an aching truth begins to dawn within my heart. O my God. The rasping. though silence shrouds this holy hill: The craving words provoke response. did howling dark encrust and cloak Your brow. I hear Your injured groan as once again You stir in grim attempt to raise Your head. before Your feet. and someone offers You the sour wine. I cannot tell the merest part of what this day on earth has wrought. But now. Help me to see myself and others as Jesus sees. and wasting murk hold sway in empty eyes? The moment seemed eternal here. No part of me could even begin to grasp what happened here. Jesus recog‐ nized the Father’s answer to His own prayer. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. would you reveal to my heart the truth that the heart of Jesus is never closed to those who seek Him. I only know the silent scream inside my heart. the raging grief that grips me now at what my race has done. .
Amen. Scripture Reading: John 19:25‐27 Meditation: • Consider the idea that John and Mary represent the oversight and care of His beloved people. For group discussion: Reflect together on times when your heart was encouraged by knowing that someone else truly understood your circumstance. How does the Holy Spirit bring His Word into being through us today? Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26‐38. 6. Prayer: O God. and crucifixion.For group discussion: Talk about what it means to you that the Son of God fully un‐ derstands what it means to be left in the lurch. especially those who pray to bring forth the purposes of God. • Meditate on the irony that the One who is the Fountain of Life should die thirsting in such a way. and how His faithfulness in that place can comfort you in your situation. Talk about how their suffering was a fountain of life to you. Send Your Spirit to assist me now. For group discussion: Consider how Mary bore and gave birth to the Word made flesh. Help me to give Him all of my heart and being in thankful‐ ness for His sacrifice. Scripture Reading: Psalm 22:15. for Your own sake. Amen. help my heart to comprehend what You did for me in the death of Jesus. I long to know You more deeply in this place. I Thirst Prayer: Lord Jesus. to open my heart to understand the love of Christ more deeply. 2:25‐35 . Behold Your Mother Prayer: Holy Spirit. Scripture Reading: John 19:28‐29 Meditation: • Consider the physical agony that Jesus must have experi‐ enced – dehydration from the wounds He suffered as a re‐ sult of the beatings. the River of Life was flowing to all who require it. 4. to stand in His own place of responsibility and compas‐ sion for the Church. Show me the heart of Jesus for those who stand in the place of intercession. • Meditate on the agony of Mary’s heart as she witnessed the suffering and death of her Son. the Word she brought forth through her intercession. • Reflect on the place of intimate partnership that Jesus gives to John. given so that we might see the grace of God ful‐ filled in Christ. scourging. • Reflect on the stark imagery that as the vital fluids flowed from the body of Jesus. I invite your presence now to give light to my eyes. 69:21 Meditation: • Give thanks for the precise fulfillment of the prophecies of Scripture. help me to hold my heart open as I consider Your suffering for me.
Poetry session: “Behold Your Mother” Your shattered form has held my eyes in gaping stare. As wounded. but fear itself. And so I draw her near. But now it is not so! I scarce can think. and lips prepare to loose a scream transcending human pain. sacred head is wrenched around from side to side. allow your mind’s eye to “see” the horror of the scene. An energy rips through His shell. as though the earth itself is being crushed by God’s own wrath. and let your emotions feel the terror of encroaching evil. I feel the gripping power of His gaze and suddenly know He has regarded me from endless ages. could still be seen Your gracious hand upholding and sustaining Him from deep within. my God. no options left except to look upon Your ravaged frame. was unwavering in His trust of the Father. For group discussion: What are some things that God has spoken to you that have not yet come to pass? Reflect on how Mary’s life as Jesus’ mother could be encouraging for you in your process. e’en tho’ the pain of slivered bar weighed full upon His slitted back. And deep within I know the ghastly truth that. Jesus personally knows and understands the anguish of every abandoned and desolate child. He will have mercy on the afflicted! . even though He could not find Him in the moment. With pow’r not borne of joy. for until now. why have You forsaken me? My God. this day is all too real.Meditation: • Reflect on the truth of how God speaks a word into the heart of a person. that they might bear it. what have You done? Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. far from dream. I cannot bear to see what now is so. and flesh convulses. as though a damned darkness wrests His soul from Your own hand. and yet – it can’t be helped! – I must again return my gaze to see the shining forth of ancient Word. as standing here I wait. considering my life for just a day as this. this frail pillar. Can it be so? I know not how. • Give thanks that because of this event. She shudders at the shock of seeing horror taking form in such a personal. one reaching through the span of time and space Encapsulating every anguished cry that has e’er escaped from desolate heart: My God. and the some‐ times difficult journey of seeing those things come to fullness. I see His eyes distend. for in His eyes the Light grows dim. and “give birth” to it in the fullness of time. arising not from gracious strength. and terror takes the place of peace. But now this cursed trance is shattered by an anguished sound that seems to come from on that tree. The weight of glory forces me to look away. bearing weight beyond proportion as the Mother of the Son of God. familiar way. The Word she pondered in a heart so deep and still when she herself was but a child now hangs before her eyes in such a state she ne’er conceived. • Consider things the Lord has spoken to you. Track 5) • Once again. A shaking grips my feeble frame. as a man with no help from His Father in heaven or from His friends on earth. But as my eyes are fixed again on piercing stare from Burning Heart. It cannot be! This is not so! Surely I dream a tortured dream and soon will wake to find my Lord beside my bed to calm the fear and speak the Word of peace and hope. The movement by my side reminds me that another heart is bleeding out this day. choosing me. There’s nothing else to do or say. made flesh so this eternal day could bring forth grace. • Meditate on the reality that Jesus.
behold your mother” . And John. the exemplar for all those yet to come who gaze on You. I feel within the fierce Defender. and I am loathe to take it in. this one into my heart whose faith exceeds by far that of the saints of old. O my Lord. a watchman for the Marys. for it is You. Your Kingdom come. a presence grim. that steals upon Your bruised face.• Give thanks for the way God has ordained and overseen the fulfillment of Scripture. Oh. hellish cloud that moves to twist the face I love – O tender Lord! . this abomination that once I called my dearest Friend. the One Who is the same and never changes. I sense a terror rising in my soul as murky wave assaults Your form. For group discussion: Talk about times when you have felt abandoned and without help. a friend and father. And in her place I see the train of those who hear Your Word and stand in dazzling darkness. inserting. to place of privilege the depth of which I do not nearly comprehend. His Bride to be dissuaded from His love. advocate protector. and guard them well. Who now is bound to torturous tree. nurturing the seed of God implanted deep within the womb of faith. How can this be? From where may come this daring. How can it be that thoughts like these course through my mind. though all my mind and soul recoils at what I see: This nightmarish spectre. before His feet. that dares to glance upon that frame? For now there comes a darkening thing. O Jesus Christ. what is this explosion in my breast. And here You place me. the jealous Lover Who’ll not allow His Glory. and Hannah all brought to fullness. My eyes avert. “Woman. once again saying ‘yes’ to words they cannot comprehend. imperceptibly passing before my eyes in ceaseless horror. What is this thing? I’ve known You well these three short years. and something like the hand of God invades my chest to grip my heart and lift me up to other realms. Who is she? Who am I? What have You done? And once again my eyes are opened. and never have I seen despair like this – such anguish. to see with Your own eyes their virgin hearts. O Mighty God! Why strike You now this crushing blow upon the One Who is Your Son? His ravaged lips begin to speak. receiving kisses from Your mouth. my God.. What things do you think the Holy Spirit was working in you at the time? Poetry session: “Forsaken” The dark. with no regard for human choice or natural fondness. my being taken into His. such eclipse in eyes that ever shone with God’s own Light.into a mask of craven fear. shattering the boundaries of my affections. I cannot look away. and I see with eyes as though mine own These two. that it might walk again the streets of earth. What horrid alteration does eye behold. deflected now by hell’s own power as something old and harsh. contemplating. and Sarah. one to carry them in my heart. a wasting darkness devoid of light begins to crawl o’er visage torn. behold your son. the interminable day plods on. She is Eve. his searing and rending verity distending the limits of my soul. and bringing forth the Word made flesh.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 22:1‐21 Meditation: • Reflect on the historic progression of this Psalm – an individual. Jesus then fulfills that agony. • Meditate on the role that Jesus gives to John as the one who will guard her and cover her in His absence. and help me to comprehend what You have done for me. the Son. 5. . • Consider the necessity of this abandonment – Jesus had to choose to trust the Father’s love in the face of pure evil. open my heart today to the reality of the sufferings of Jesus as He was abandoned to death for my sake. in order to assist Jesus in His task of intercession. with no help from heaven. with no help from heaven. and help us to see those You love as You see them. and call Her forth to stand in grace. and hear Your Word and speak Your truth. in ever-growing knowledge of the love that burns with passion undiluted in the heart of Christ. I will behold Her. Track 4) • As you listen to the poem. Meditation: ( may also use Fountain of Tears. And I say Yes. Thank You for the provision of care and covering You have made. who bore unimaginable grief as she watched His suffering. How can you cover them as John was asked to cover Mary? Prayer: Jesus. cries out in agony for deliverance. giving full expression to the desolation of abandonment. His ardent love. the Bridegroom King. The Word. especially in view of the constant and profound intimacy with the Father that Jesus lived in through His entire life. For group discussion: Consider others that are bearing the weight of a promise yet unfulfilled. • Meditate on the role of the Holy Spirit to hide the Father’s face. and that cry becomes the national cry of the people of Israel. Amen. Forsaken Prayer: Heavenly Father. Scripture Reading: Mark 15:33‐36 Meditation: • Allow your heart to feel the agony of abandonment. For group discussion: Reflect together on the necessity of a man under pressure. Show me Your heart. the writer. • Ask the Lord to show you others that you can cover in prayer as they await the fulfillment of promise. • Let the Holy Spirit strengthen your heart to bear patiently the process of bringing forth the things He has promised you. consider Jesus’ tenderness toward His mother. thank You for the love You have toward those who carry Your promises. being obedient to the Father in order to bring salvation.